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The meaning of work: Lessons from sociology, psychology, and political theory

Опубликовано на портале: 15-12-2002
Journal of Socio-Economics. 1999.  Vol. 28. No. 6. P. 725-743. 
Economics views work as merely providing purchasing power. Many economists agree that there is a great deal more to work, but they nonetheless feel comfortable with this narrow description, believing that important aspects of work that they have left out of consideration have no impact on the validity of their analytical conclusions and policy propositions. This paper argues that if economics is to shed light on urgent socio-economic issues and suggest appropriate remedies, labor economics must be expanded to encompass work as a creative endeavor - an escape from social isolation - and to acknowledge the analytical implications of the workplace as a social microcosm, which is, inter alia, governed by power relationships. This paper presents lessons from an investigation of the meaning of work in a number of cognate disciplines and outlines their implication for labor economics and for policy seeking to advance the cause of social justice.